Friday, January 28, 2011

Like A Virgin

One of the more common sights where people gather is the person or persons reading a book. You’ll see them anywhere, in waiting rooms, airports, on park benches. Don’t know if it’s just me, but I usually try to sneak a look at the title, interested in what even a stranger is reading. Now and then you might see someone reading Friedrich Nietzsche or Homer’s The Iliad, but more often it’s either John Grisham or one of the latest bodice rippers by Johanna Lindsey or Cherry Adair.

Call me picky, but I had never read one of the many books that feature on the cover a virile hero type, half dressed and tangled in the arms of a raven haired beauty in a ripped bodice, all happening on a sinking ship or besieged city walls. No, I had never read one until…

Watching the Cameron Diaz movie, In Her Shoes (2005) one night, I had a good laugh over a romantic couple reading passages from one of the popular romance novels. Hitting the pause button at just the right moment I was able to make out the title of the book they were reading from. I later got a cheap copy and read the whole thing.

In this line of books I don’t have much experience to base an opinion on, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Captain Jack’s Woman, written by Stephanie Laurens is—without the use of a single bad or four-letter word, without mention of impolite body parts—the most pornographic book I’ve ever read.

It is England 1811 and Kit Cranmer is back at home in West Norfolk after six years in London, while Jonathan Hendon, better known as Captain Jack, is once again in Norfolk chasing smugglers. In the days to come Kit finds herself longing for adventure and mixed up with a band of smugglers. Soon enough she is involved with Captain Jack, and he also ‘deeply’ involved with her.

‘Her lover is much more than he seems—a man of secrets and dangerous mystery—and becoming Captain Jack’s woman will carry Kit into a world of sensuous pleasures and unparalleled perils, to heights of excitement beyond anything she’s ever dreamed.’

Following is a paragraph from the book’s first love scene, a mere snippet of the full eight pages, every line a lusty growl or purr of wanton horniness…

‘Fire raged through Kit, leaving her scorched, parched, thirsty. Her lips clung to his, as if the passion in his kiss was her only salvation. Little rivers of flame ran through her veins, pooling in liquid fire between her thighs. She pressed her thighs hard against the muscular column between them but could find no relief. The flames flared briefly, and then faded to a glow…Jack seemed content to nibble tantalizingly at her lips, allowing her mind to struggle free of the drugging effect of his kisses. She tried to ignore the peculiar hot ache deep within her, called to life by his passion, quietly building…Her sense of right and wrong was hopelessly compromised.’

The next time the two come together their passion is acted out over ten pages, most of it more heated than their earlier encounter. What makes the second meeting so memorable is that halfway through their carnal gymnastics we (and Captain Jack too) learn that Kit is a virgin! Well, there’s only one conclusion to draw. This girl is a natural when it comes to entertainment between the sheets, though she proves soon enough that hard, rocky ground, or a pile of hay in the stables can also bring out her talents. But she has a good (and randy) teacher in Captain Jack.

The Australian author, Ms Laurens, is probably laughing all the way to the bank. I read somewhere that she was a science writer before trying her hand at romance. Put her mind to it and she could probably write serious literature, but maybe wealth and success with Captain Jack have dulled that need.


  1. It's hilarious that you read one of "those books". I've never read that book and really am not tempted to go out and get it.
    I have, however, read novels with more description in the love scenes than you printed. I have learned to move quickly over them and get to the interesting parts.

  2. And here you and I have been writing "serious" literature when we could have written a bevy of bodice rippers and been tanning in the sun of the Italian Riviera. Or written some "hot" books as they were known in the book business. My favorite title of one of those was THE CUNNING LINGUIST.

  3. Maybe you should pass that book around. It just might give a few ideas to some of the winter residents and cut down on their time at the shuffleboard courts - giving you more time to read other "bodice rippers" in peace.

  4. And the BEST part is that when you read one of these books, you've read them ALL. They are written on a standard outline that the publisher insists upon or they aren't published. --Which is why I don't read them anymore. They are all the same.

    But I have to thank you for the huge laugh. I even read it aloud to my husband. He read one years ago (before we met) just to find out why women loved them. You are both very brave and open minded to try it.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America